Ryan Kesler wasn't kidding. He said the Canucks would treat this game like a game 7 and they did just that. What a terrific effort. That makes this loss even tougher to swallow. What happened?
The Canucks blew THREE 1-goal leads!
On Chicago's first goal, Schneider played the puck to Dan Hamhuis who had 2 Hawks coming at him. Hammer's nonchalant clearing attempt went off Dave Bolland's leg (who then obliterated Hammer), off the side of the goal and right out front to Bryan Bickell who had no problem scoring on an unprepared Ginger to make it 1-1. The 2nd Hawks' goal was either a communication breakdown between Schneider and his D or just a flat-out mistake by the Canucks' goaltender. He played the puck behind the net right onto the stick of Patrick Kane, who made a perfect pass out front to Dave Bolland who scored on a scrambling Schneider to make it 2-2. The Canucks then get a gritty 3-2 goal from Kevin Bieksa early in the 3rd period. Not even 2 minutes later Frolik gets behind the Canucks' D to get a breakaway chance. Hamhuis is chasing
Frolik and goes for the sweep check and ends up tripping him. Penalty shot. Watch that sweep check in the highlights. Buttlick goes down before Hammer even makes any contact. A dive. The diving wonder scores on his penalty shot attempt to make it 3-3 and Schneider cramps up badly, exiting the game.
Bring on the Lou. Adversity again. But the Canucks never faltered. They kept attacking, coming within a goal post of winning it. UGHHH. Vancouver outshot the Hawks 10-3 in the 3rd period. They were trying to end it. 10-3! Any solid chance was put off the post or stopped by Corey Crawford. Even in overtime the Canucks kept pressing. The shots were 12-11 Canucks. No glorious chances there if I recall correctly. Despite the Canucks' pressure the Hawks didn't allow them much except from the outside. Suddenly Marianne Hossa gets to have his way in the offensive zone, after being a non factor most of the night. He does a circle, puts it to Hjalmarsson at the point who rifles it at the net. I think Ben Smith tipped it a bit, but Luongo makes a huge blocker save. The rebound comes right out to Smith who, while falling forward, backhands a shot past Luongo, who had also fallen forward. Why was he falling forward like that uncontrollably I don't know. But many Canucks fans are not going to let him hear the end of it I'm sure.
-Lack of finish. Controlling that much of the game and still losing is an unfortunate event.
-Alain Vigneault chose to ride the living hell out of his top 2 lines. Henrik: 25:14. Dank: 25:29. Burrows: 26:48. Kesler: 29:32 (jeezus). Raymond: 22:48. Now look at some of the other ice times: Hodgson: 7:11. Really? Besides his unfortunate delay of game penalty I thought he looked pretty good. Higgins: 17:45. Hansen: 17:39. Torres: 6:16. More here. Christ, Bieksa played 36:33, the most of any player out there. The Hawks, as you can see in the boxscore, rolled their 4 lines more than Vancouver did.
-The Canucks are not commenting on what is wrong with Sami Salo, who left in the 3rd period after being hit, I believe.
-A combined -6 for the Sedins/Samuelsson. Ehrhoff was a -2 as well. Only Jonathan Toews was a -2 for Chicago.
-Fucking reffing was out to lunch. Missed high stick on Dank. Not so sure about that missed delay of game penalty. Missed Hawk slashing calls. Yeah they let some Canucks errors go too but this seemed lopsided. Who provided that headshot to Bieksa behind the net??? WTF. If you call the Torres hit on Seabrook play you call that one for god's sakes.
-Vancouver's penalty kill was awesome in this game. Awesome. They even killed a long 5 on 3 in the 2nd period.
-The sustained pressure. They played like they wanted to win. Another schizophrenic turn from out schiz team. A good one though.
-Canucks clogged up the middle. Finally! They also won a ton of battles for the puck with their work ethic.
-Alexandre Burrows was silent on the scoresheet in this series until tonight. He had a goal and an assist.
-Burrows, Raymond and Bieksa were all a +2. Only Dave Bolland was a +2 for Chicago.
-I believe I saw a Burrows-Kesler-Raymond 2nd line as the game went on and I liked it. Let Hodgson anchor the 3rd line. Just do it.
-I had said in the game preview that I would feel optimistic if the Canucks would put out a solid effort in Game 6 and lost in a close one. I still feel that way. This is a deflating loss no doubt. But if they put out the same effort in Game 7 on home ice I think they can pull off a win.
-To all the Luongo bashers: